Do you suffer from mild or chronic migraines? If you’ve considered keeping a migraine diary (and we’d recommend you do) here’s why you should. Keeping a migraine diary helps you and your healthcare team to track the characteristics of your migraines and understand patterns and possible triggers. In fact, we recommend a migraine diary to all of our patients at Migraine Specialist in Brisbane.

The 6-8 hours prior to a migraine attack are the most important to track and retrace, as this can give you and your team of medical professionals valuable information to help diagnose, prevent and treat your migraines in the future. The more information you can provide your healthcare team, the better, so take an active role in your migraine prevention and management plan today and keep a migraine diary.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a long and arduous task – we’ve compiled some tips in this article to help you and we’ve put together a migraine diary template that you can print out and use at home.

Why should you keep a migraine diary?

A migraine diary is an important tool for your treatment team to use to help identify patterns and triggers and track the impact that medications have on your migraine symptoms and side effects.  A migraine diary also helps medical to chart your progress over time, understand what is working and what isn’t and assess when, how and why you are experiencing regular migraine attacks.

Without this information, your team of medical professionals will not be able to help you as effectively as they could, so it’s a really important part of your ongoing migraine treatment plan.

What you should include in a migraine diary?

Your migraine diary should answer the following questions…  

  • Did you experience a headache or a migraine?
  • What was the severity of the pain on a scale of 0-10?
  • Where was the pain located?
  • What symptoms did you experience during the migraine attack?
  • What day of the week and at what time did you experience the attack?
  • What was the duration of the attack (hours and/or days)?
  • What did you do before the migraine attack and what could be a possible trigger?
  • What medications did you take during the migraine attack (including prescription and non-prescription)?
  • What did you do to relieve the symptoms and pain during the migraine attack? Did it work?
  • How much sleep did you have the night before the migraine attack?
  • What is the weather like?

In addition, women should record their menstrual days in their migraine diary to assess whether this has any impact or influence on migraine onset. There are some great articles already on the Migraine Specialist blog about menstrual migrainesmenopause and migraines and migraines in women that are particularly helpful to women who suffer from regular migraines.

Here is an example of a completed migraine diary entry.

If you don’t have a migraine diary or want to start one, print out this easy to use migraine diary template each month and start to track your triggers, symptoms and recovery techniques.

How to keep a migraine diary

It’s really easy to keep a migraine diary and ensure it is updated regularly. Here are our top tips:

  1. Share as many details as you can recall in your migraine diary, even if you think it is not important or irrelevant. This includes your symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness.
  2. Think about what the possible triggers might have been for the onset of the migraine. Some common migraine triggers are: change in usual routine, exercise, food, skipped meals, oversleeping, lack of sleep, change in diet or events and social outings that are outside of your normal schedule.
  3. Have your migraine diary in an easy to find place so you can update it quickly and easily throughout the day. Stick it to the fridge, keep it on your desk at work or pop it in the back of your diary. You might like to keep a migraine diary at home and at work so you always have access to it.
  4. If you prefer to have your migraine diary on a digital device so it is always with you, try an app or digital migraine diary like the Migraine Buddy app.

When you keep a migraine diary you and your treatment team can start to draw conclusions about when you are most likely to experience a migraine attack, what you can do to prevent migraine attacks and how you can manage them when they are coming on.

What about a headache diary?

Even if you suffer from irregular headaches that are not as debilitating as a migraine, it’s still a good idea to track them in a migraine or headache diary to understand what might be triggering your headaches so you can avoid them in future.

The more you know, the more you can help prevent and manage your headaches, no matter how severe they are.

If you have any further questions about how to keep a migraine diary and why you should, feel free to call our Brisbane migraine clinic on 07 3831 1611 and our staff can pass on some more helpful information.

Note: information on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice